LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — With updated COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year, the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) “strongly recommends” that K-12 schools follow both MDHHS and CDC guidance for the upcoming school year.
Schools that do not require universal masking will be more likely to have kids excluded from school due to COVID-19 or exposure. This will have a significant impact on face-to-face learning for students and their parents who may need to take time off of work to stay home with their children.”Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail
A release from the ICHD details that in-school learning is critical to the social and emotional development of children.
Additionally, many school-aged children remain unvaccinated, meaning that children are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection especially due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
“We will continue to provide COVID-19 vaccine opportunities through Ingham County for students, school staff, and family,” said Vail.
ICHD goes on to say that multiple studies have shown that COVID-19 transmission rates within school settings are lower than or similar to community transmission levels- when multiple prevention measures are in place.
ICHD’s recommendation is a layered prevention strategy that will allow students to stay in the classroom. The strategy consists of the following steps:
- Encourage the COVID-19 vaccine to those who are eligible
- Require universal masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools,regardless of vaccination status
- Maintain physical distance of at least 3 feet when masking, or 6 feet when not masking orbetween unvaccinated staff and students
- Screening testing at least weekly in staff, and in students when in areas of moderate to high COVID-19 transmission
- Encourage proper handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- Regular cleaning and disinfection
- Stay home when sick and get tested for COVID-19
- Adhere to isolation if you test positive for COVID-19 or quarantine if considered a close contact